Connecticut lawmakers on Monday have voted to formally expand the state Attorney General’s powers to include investigating allegations of certain hate crimes and civil rights violations and to initiate legal proceedings.
The bill, which passed 96 to 51 in the House of Representatives, now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. It previously passed in the Senate on Friday.
“We are ready to take on this work and prepared to establish a Civil Rights unit within our office immediately to proactively seek justice for those whose rights and liberties are under attack,” Democratic Attorney General Tong said in a written statement.
Under current law, Tong’s office has the authority to pursue civil litigation in civil rights violation cases. However, it does not have the large-scale ability to investigate allegations or bring legal proceedings, when the evidence warrants it, and seek relief for the affected person.
Tong noted how passage of the legislation comes as authorities investigate at least eight nooses found within a month at an Amazon warehouse construction site in Windsor.
“We are in the midst of a national reckoning on hate, race and justice, and Connecticut is not apart or immune,” he said. “This bill strengthens the ability of the Office of the Attorney General to proactively seek justice for those whose rights and liberties have come under attack.”
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